Boeing promises $100 m to 737 MAX crash victims' families, communities

Cheryl Sanders
July 4, 2019

Boeing said it will provide $100 million over several years to help families and communities affected by two crashes of its 737 Max plane that killed 346 people.

Boeing is being investigated by global regulators and USA lawmakers over the development of the 737 MAX and is the defendant in more than 100 lawsuits by the families of victims of a Lion Air crash in October and Ethiopian Airlines in March, which together killed 346 people.

The aviation giant said it would partner with local governments and nonprofits on community programs and economic development in grieving communities.

Rescuers work at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines flight crash. The Chicago-based planemaker has come under scrutiny from wary passengers, investors, customers and regulators after a pair of fatal crashes prompted the grounding of its marquee Max jet family.

Boeing faces numerous lawsuits filed by the victims' families, some of whom have appeared at news conferences or during congressional hearings probing the disasters. The company isn't placing restrictions related to litigation over how the money can be used, said spokesman Charles Bickers.

"We've been assessing a variety of ways to assist the families and communities impacted, and determined that this is a constructive step that we can take now", the company said. "As part of this effort, we're making progress on the 737 MAX software update that will prevent accidents like these from ever happening again". All 157 passengers and crew were killed in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash on 10 March, 2019 in Bishoftu, six minutes after takeoff from Nairobi, Kenya. After the Ethiopian flight crashed under similar circumstances, regulators worldwide moved to ground the plane.

Mr Muilenburg said safety was Boeing's priority and has vowed to learn from the crashes.

A company spokesperson said the pledge is separate from any lawsuits filed by the families and loved ones of those who died in the crashes.

Boeing said in a SEC filing on June 26 that it will not offer the 737 Max for certification by the FAA until we "have satisfied all requirements for certification of the MAX and its safe return to service".

In a statement, Boeing chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg reiterated the company's regrets.

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